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(Photo by Eric Canha, theACC.com)
Tar Heels Shutout Orange, 1-0
NEWTON, Mass. (TheACC.com) – Behind the efforts of goalkeeper Sassi Ammer and midfielder Emily Wold, No. 3 North Carolina defeated second-seeded Syracuse, 1-0, to advance to Sunday’s ACC Field Hockey Championship.
With the victory, the Tar Heels move on to face Maryland at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The game marks a repeat of the 2012 title game that saw North Carolina win its 18th league championship with a 4-2 victory.
The lone goal of Friday’s match came at the 24:11 mark of the first half. With Syracuse working in its own defensive end, Tar Heel Emma Bozek intercepted a pass by a Syracuse back and then worked the ball to teammate Loren Shealy. Driving down the sideline to goalkeeper Jess Jecko’s right, Shealy sent a centering pass toward the cage, where a diving Wold pushed the ball past Jecko for the 1-0 lead.
On three separate occasions, it looked as though the Orange would knot the contest at one.
In the closing moments of the first half, the Orange made a bid to for the eqaulizer, but came away empty after two penalty corners that produced scrambles in front of the cage. Ammer made four saves, including two point-blank attempts on Syracuse attackers.
With the clock approaching the 88th minute, Syracuse found the back of the cage on a shot from outside the circle that appeared to deflect off of Ammer. After video review, the call on the field was overturned, as officials determined that the ball went in untouched by both the North Carolina defenders and Ammer.
The Orange earned one final corner as time expired in the contest, but the North Carolina defense cleared the ball to clinch a spot in the title game.
The Tar Heels managed five shots and zero penalty corners in the game as they avenged a 1-0 loss to the Orange less than a week earlier. Syracuse registered nine shots and four penalty corners.
North Carolina’s shutout marked the first time since Oct. 3, 2010 in a 2-0 loss against Massachusetts that Syracuse has been shutout – a span stretching 74 matches.
More information on the 2013 ACC Field Hockey Championship can be found online at http://theacc.co/FHChamp.